January 22, 2014
Sen. Tim Kaine talked to students at the University of Virginia Wednesday about a bipartisan bill he's introduced in Congress, but he also gave reaction to the federal charges that former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife are facing.
Kaine served as governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, directly preceding McDonnell.
"I was very depressed when I heard the news yesterday. It's a sad day for Virginia," Kaine said. "It just means so powerfully the legislature and the new governor have an opportunity to fix the state's ethics laws."
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, face 14 federal corruption charges. The indictment said the couple received thousands of dollars in gifts from businessman Jonnie Williams in return for promoting products from Williams' company, Star Scientific.
McDonnell and his wife both deny any illegal activity. The couple was due in court for a first appearance on Friday, but that's been pushed back one week to Jan. 31.
The Washington Post also commented on the alleged crimes in an editorial published Wednesday, saying:
"It is impossible to read the indictment - with its repeated examples of cash, vacations, gifts, loans, private jets, vacation houses and baubles swapped for official access and favors - without seeing that Mr. McDonnell debased the office he held and that Mrs. McDonnell was complicit in that tawdry work."
Kaine said the General Assembly and newly-inaugurated Gov. Terry McAuliffe should act -- and act now -- to make ethics reforms.
"Something like this, a controversy like this, demonstrates -- fix them," he said. "For the wellbeing of the public, for the wellbeing of the commonwealth, to repair our reputation, even for your own self-protection, fix these laws. Make them clear, make them stricter."
One of McAuliffe's first acts as governor was signing an executive order banning gifts to himself or members of his family worth more than $100. The General Assembly is also considering reforms.